I'm so happy to be here for my monthly guest post. With the holidays quickly approaching, many of us are understandably consumed with decorating, baking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping...oh boy, does it ever stop?! When it does stop, in just over a week, out thoughts will turn to the New Year, fresh starts and a new beginning. Doesn't it feel great to know that we have a perfect excuse to try something new? As readers of The Organized Classroom Blog, I'm sure you've picked up many, many useful tips and tricks to keep your classroom organized. I know I have! Today I'd like to offer some tips on how I organize myself at school and at home. We all know that if you're feeling better about your home life, you'll feel better about your work life, right?
I am known for having a very organized classroom. I often have people walk into my room and wonder aloud how I keep it so neat! Sometimes I feel guilty and I wonder if they think I just don't do anything fun or messy in my room. That couldn't be further from the truth. How do I keep my room clean? I follow one golden rule: Put it away now. I don't let things in my classroom pile up. If it's out of place either I put it away or I make sure a child puts it away. The only way golden rule number one works is if golden rule number 2 has already been established: Make sure everything has a place to go. Once I got these two rules in place in my classroom AND my home, I felt like I had a major epiphany!
There are a few other things that I do that seem so simple, but actually took me quite a while to figure out!
1. Designate a landing spot. We enter our house through the garage into the kitchen most of the time. I found that the kitchen counter was overflowing with keys, sunglasses, receipts, my hubby's wallet, his keys, lottery tickets, etc. Simple solution: I put a pretty wooden bowl right at that spot and now everything goes into the bowl. Once the bowl starts to fill up, we clean it out.
2. Have a To-Be-Filed box. I hide mine under my desk. It's a large Rubbermaid container that fits perfectly under there. Anytime I have an original that needs to go back into the filing cabinet or patterns that need to go back in the closet, I'll put it in that box and then when I have a spare minute, I'll go through the box and file everything. Oh, and p.s. try making an "o" in highlighter on all of your original copies. It won't show up when copied and if you ever see an extra copy lying around, you'll know immediately if it's your original!
3. Donate! Just recently I went through my bookshelf at home and donated about 5 boxes of books that I know I won't read again (at least not unless it's on my Kindle!). It felt great to have so much room on those bookshelves! A good tip for clothes, put a small piece of tape on your hangers. When you wear an article of clothing, remove the tape. Any clothes that still have the tape after six months get donated!
4. Sort mail instantly. This one works at home and school. Junk mail can take over if you let it! I don't even leave the workroom with junk mail. I immediately recycle it so that it doesn't even make it to my room. I do the same thing at home. As soon as I bring in the mail, I stand over the garbage and tear up junk mail and put bills into our mail holder (it's next to the bowl!)
5. Tame the Tupperware. I only have a few pieces of Tupperware-like containers, but they all have a lid and they are all in good condition. I always have what I need to store leftovers. Really, how much plasticware do you need in the cabinet? As soon as I see a piece showing wear, getting stained or missing a lid, it goes in the recycling bin. When I host a holiday at my house, I always stock up on the disposable plasticware so leftovers can go home and I don't worry about the container.
I hope some of my tips can help, especially if "getting organized" is one of your resolutions this New Year!
See you next month,